Chef Ciro Cattaneo takes us through the new menu at his pizzeria offering authentic wood-fired pizzas

The star chef and founder of Ciro's Pizzeria talks to us about his bond with India and serving authentic Italian
Chef Ciro with wood-fired Pizza
Chef Ciro with wood-fired Pizza

This weekend, we were warmed by a cosy trattoria-like setting at Ciro’s Pizzeria. Its kitchen helmed by none other than the founder, Ciro Cattaneo, was serving authentic wood-fired pizzas fresh out of the brick oven, as we reached its sheltered premises. The air wafted with smoky aroma from the charred thin crust pizzas, forming shapeless silhouettes that warmly invited us to listen to the story of the crowd favourite Pizzeria started by culinary maestro, Ciro in 1998 in India, “I first came to India for a holiday and saw there was a dearth of authentic Italian cuisine. I wanted to give Indians a taste of Italy with authentic wood-fired Italian pizzas. I opened a restaurant Bella Ciao in Chennai that ran for 20 years and later started Ciro’s in 2020.”

Meeting chef Ciro
Meeting chef Ciro

However, his initial pizzas were only relished by the well-travelled who are familiar with Italian flavours. “When I first made pizza in India, it wasn’t that popular. They found my pizza to be like a chapati with toppings (laughs),” he quips. Cut to now in 2023, Ciro’s signature pizzas like Parma Deliziosa, Tropicana, Fiorentina, Crostini and more have become best-sellers across its outlets in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. We indulged in their new menu featuring a variety of offerings including pizzas, paninis, pasta, dolce, and more. Soon, a delightful charcuterie board of Polla Piccante pizza graced our table.

At Pizzeria
At Pizzeria

The pizza had a Romana base, boasting thin and crunchy edges. Topping it was tender slices of smoked chicken, ham and pepperoni, infusing the dish with a tantalising hint of umami flavours. A thin layer of molten mozzarella delicately blanketed the entire disk, while the slow-cooked tomato sauce contributed a luscious moistness. After this balsamic glazed pizza, we were treated to a vegetarian variant of Boscaiola Pizza that had a Napoletana base. This kind of pizza originated in Naples. It has a thin, soft and fluffy base with light-airy crust on the edges making it a filling dish. Our pizza was topped with loads of freshly cut veggies like broccoli, roasted zucchini, bell peppers and button mushrooms under a layer of mozzarella cheese.

Veg Pizza
Veg Pizza

We had hearty bites with a mug of beer and got our hands on the next item, Pollo Fritto. The fingerlings had crispy fried boneless chicken tenders paired with tangy marinara dip but would’ve been appreciated more had it been less chewy. We signed off relishing the cocoa-flavoured Tiramisu. Its savoiardi dipped in coffee layered with a whipped mixture of eggs and mascarpone cheese made it a drool-worthy dessert to delightfully end our Italian fare.

Rs. 1,500 for two. At multiple outlets in Hyderabad. 
Mail: priyamvada@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @RanaPriyamvada

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